A Message From the ELC / Parents / Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)

Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)

Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK)

Florida’s FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program prepares early learners for kindergarten and builds the foundation for their future educational success.

To be eligible, a child must:

  • Reside in Florida and
  • Be four (4) years old on or before Sept. 1

If your child’s 4th birthday is between Feb. 2 - Sept. 1, your child can enroll in the current school year program (August 2017 - July 2018) or in next year’s program (August 2018-July 2019).

Parents can choose from private child care centers or public schools and from school-year or summer programs. Parents of 4- or 5-year-olds with special needs have an option outside the classroom setting; this option is VPK Specialized Instructional Services (SIS).

Next steps:

1.   Collect the needed documents.
  Gather one document that shows your child's age and one document that shows your current address.  See below for a list of acceptable documents.
   
2. Apply for VPK online through Florida's Early Learning Family Portal.
  Submit a VPK application for your 4- or 5-year old child.  Remember to upload the document that shows your child’s age and the document that shows your current address.  Be sure to type your child’s name, your name, and your current address (no P.O. boxes) on the VPK application exactly as this information appears on the documents you have collected
   
3.   Need information about the VPK program?
  Read “The Voluntary Prekindergarten Handbook” on Florida’s Early Learning Family Portal to learn about the three VPK program options, the types of providers, and parent rights and responsibilities.
   
4.   Want a list of possible VPK providers?
  Return a completed Customer Intake Form to the ELC (email it to CCRR@elcbigbend.org or fax it to (850) 922-0075) to receive a list of possible providers based on the criteria you select.  
   
5.   Review VPK providers online.
  Create a short list of VPK providers that meet your family’s needs.  Review each provider’s information (including the provider profiles that give information on services, curriculum, instructor credentials, instructor-to-student ratio, and the latest kindergarten readiness rate) through the DCF’s CARES system.
   
6.   Choose a VPK provider.
  Now that you know about the VPK program and about VPK providers, choose the provider that best meets your family's needs.
   
7.   Get your child's VPK certificate.
  Once you receive an email that the ELC approved your child's VPK application, log onto Florida's Early Learning Family Portal to print a copy of your child's VPK certificate.  Then take that certificate to your chosen VPK provider to register your child.
   

CLICK TO APPLY

 

If you need more help, contact the ELC’s Child Care Resource and Referral Line toll-free at 1-866-973-9030 or by emailing VPK@elcbigbend.org.

List of Acceptable Documents

To help the ELC approve your child’s VPK application, upload one of each of the below documents. 

For child’s age (enter your child’s name on the VPK application exactly as it appears on one of the below documents):

  • A child’s birth certificate (original or certified copy)
  • A shot record (signed by a doctor or health official)
  • A passport or certificate of arrival in the United States
  • A valid military dependent identification card
  • If you do not have any of the above, please contact the ELC for other options

For parent’s address (enter your name and address on the VPK application exactly as they appear on one of the below documents):

  • Valid Florida driver's license or ID card
  • Utility bill (electric, gas, water), cable, or home (land line) phone bill
  • Pay stub
  • Executed lease agreement
  • If you do not have any of the above, please contact the ELC for other options

Click here to view a listing of approved VPK providers for summer 2017.  (pdf 194.22 kB)

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